Local Media Pty Ltd
Editorial Guidelines and Code of Conduct
Local Media Pty Ltd is an independent Australian media company, delivering local news on a number of platforms including print, internet and social media. Our editorial coverage is underscored by the ongoing commitment for accuracy, fairness and accountability.
Our news columns include fact-based reporting, with a commitment to balance and impartially. We endeavour to include contributions from all parties. Where our team offers opinion, we commit to sign-post the material with the author’s name. Quotes should be accurate and any editing should not distort the meaning of the opinion expressed.
Local Media’s commitment to accuracy includes a willingness to correct errors and clarify ambiguous or otherwise misleading information. Swift correction can reduce harmful reliance on inaccurate information, especially given content can be quickly, widely and permanently disseminated. Corrections and clarifications can contribute to achieving fairness and impartiality.
Local Media aims to present, over time, content that addresses a broad range of subjects from a diversity of perspectives reflecting a diversity of experiences, presented in a diversity of ways from a diversity of sources. Impartiality does not require that every perspective receives equal time, nor that every facet of every argument is presented.
Fair and honest dealing is essential to maintaining trust with audiences and with those who participate in or are otherwise directly affected by our content.
Privacy is necessary to human dignity and every person reasonably expects that their privacy will be respected. But privacy is not absolute. Local Media seeks to balance the public interest in respect for privacy with the public interest in disclosure of information and freedom of expression.
Local Media Pty Ltd publishes comprehensive and innovative content that aims to inform, entertain and educate diverse audiences. Innovation involves a willingness to take risks, invent and experiment with new ideas. This can result in challenging content which may offend some of the audience some of the time. Community standards are taken into consideration.
Local Media Pty Ltd subscribes to the standards of the Australian Press Council. Application has been made for membership (as at August 2018). Local Media Pty Ltd has a Complaints Policy in place (see website)
Code of Conduct
This policy applies to Local Media Pty Ltd and its editorial contributors, including employees, contractors, consultants, freelancers, interns and volunteers.
Accuracy and Reporting
Publications should take reasonable steps to ensure reports are accurate and not misleading.
Publications are free to editorialise, campaign and take stances on issues provided they take reasonable steps to fulfil our requirements.
Comment, conjecture and opinion are acceptable in reports to provide perspective on an issue, or explain the significance of an issue, or to allow readers to recognise what the publication’s standpoint is on the matter being reported.
This does not allow us to knowingly publish inaccurate or misleading information and publications should correct significant inaccuracies or misleading material once they have been recognised.
We try always to tell all sides of the story when reporting on disputes and with such stories, reasonable steps should be taken to contact adversely named parties.
Journalists should rely only on credible sources.
Direct quotations should not be altered except to delete offensive language, protect against defamation, or to make minor changes for clarity.
Information sourced from social media should be verified for accuracy.
Subject to legal advice, a correction or other adequate remedial action should be provided promptly if published material is significantly inaccurate.
Local Media Pty Ltd believs in self-regulation of the publishing industry and is a applicant to be a constituent member of the Australian Press Council.
Editorial representatives should not use false names when representing Local Media Pty Ltd
Employees should not try to obtain information, photographs or video by deception.
A promise of confidentiality to a source must, of course, be honoured. However, editorial employees should be aware of the possible consequences. For example, a judge may order the source to be identified. Defiance of this order could lead to conviction for contempt of court, with the consequence of being imprisoned or being sanctioned with a heavy fine.
Payment for information
Payment should not be made for interviews or information.
Conflict of interest
A conflict of interest arises when personal interests or divided loyalties interfere with the ability to make sound, objective business decisions on behalf of the company. Staff may join and participate in lawful political or community organisations or activities but must avoid potential conflicts of interest with their employment.
Employees as defined by this policy must report as soon as possible potential personal conflicts of interest to the Editor. Failure to notify them may result in dismissal.
Any employee wishing to perform paid or unpaid work for a rival media outlet must receive written approval in advance from the Editor.
It is illegal for employees to make personal gain from financial information received in advance of general publication. It is illegal to pass this information to others.
Editorial employees must not report about shares, securities or companies in which they, their family or close friends have a financial interest without disclosing before publication that interest to the Editor.
Personal gain, gifts
Employees must not request or accept any money, travel, goods, discounts, entertainment or inducements of any kind outside the normal scope of business hospitality.
Bribes are to be rejected promptly and the Editor should be informed immediately of any offer or request to pay a bribe, including a facilitation payment or other inappropriate payments.
Gifts of cash (any sum) are never acceptable.
Employees must never solicit or request any gift or benefit for themselves or anyone else in connection with their employment.
All individuals, including public figures, have a right to privacy. But public figures necessarily sacrifice their right to privacy, where public scrutiny is in the public interest.
Publication of sensitive personal information — such as taxation details, Family Court records and health and welfare matters — may be prohibited by law.
Editorial representatives should not harass or try to intimidate people when seeking information or photographs.
Editorial representatives should not photograph or film people on private property without their consent unless it is in the public interest to do so. If asked by the resident to leave private property, do so promptly.
Editorial representatives should persist unreasonably in telephoning, pursuing, questioning or door-stopping someone after an authorised person has asked you to stop.
Editorial representatives should always behave with sensitivity and courtesy toward the public, and in particular towards those involved in tragic events. No one should be put under pressure to be photographed, filmed or interviewed. We should respect the wishes of the bereaved or grieving.
Editorial representatives should not make pejorative reference to a person’s race, nationality, colour, religion, marital status, sex, sexual preferences, or physical or mental illness or disability. No details of a person’s race, nationality, colour, religion, marital status, sex, sexual preferences, or physical or mental illness or disability should be included in a report unless they are relevant.
Editorial representatives should not reveal graphic details of a suspected suicide or graphic details of the method and location of a suicide unless the public interest in doing so clearly outweighs the risk, if any, of causing further suicides.
Editorial representatives should avoid making judgements about the method of death which suggest suicide is an acceptable means of resolving problems, particularly among young people.
Editorial representatives should not sensationalise, glamorise or trivialise suicides. Adopt sensitivity and moderation in news gathering and in any contact with those who might be affected.
Where possible, we include in such reports the contact number of support groups where people with problems may seek help.
Editorial representatives should not print recipes for drug manufacture details of distribution or descriptions of the use of other harmful substances unless justified by public interest considerations or at the request of authorities.
Photographic enhancement and manipulation policy
Enhancement of photographs is acceptable. However, this should be limited to simple procedures to improve reproduction quality, ie auto enhancement.
alteration should be explained in the caption.
Editorial representatives should not bring the reputation of Local Media Pty Ltd, colleagues or masthead into disrepute.
Confidences and sensitivities of colleagues should be respected at all times.